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How to Help Your Kids Kick Bad Habits

Bad habits aren’t always easy to break. It doesn’t matter who suffers from the ailment, it is still going to be an uphill battle when attempting to cut the habit.

Our children typically either create nasty habits on their own or they pick up the bad habits of others. Be it talking with their mouths full or smoking, they are all problems that we as parents want to help them overcome successfully.

If you are a parent with a child suffering from a bad habit that they just can’t seem to break on their own, you are in for a treat!

Let’s discuss a few ways you can help your child overcome their habits, all while learning a valuable lesson in the process, shall we?

The first lesson begins with you

Our children are not stupid. Let’s just start there. They watch every move that we make, and they take notes. When we struggle with a bad habit and fail to fight it, they take that as an example of how they should deal with habits of their own.

If you smoke, then you may be setting your children up for a habit of becoming a smoker themselves. If you drink, then more than likely your children will too. If we want to assist our children with making good choices, then we must first begin with ourselves.

Be the example that you would like displayed for your children. When they see you making the best choices, they will do the same. However, if you are struggling to overcome a bad habit yourself, then show your children a determined effort on your part to kick the habit.

Let them see that you are not giving up and that you are serious about doing what is right. By showing your child that your imperfection is a part of your human experience that you are working to change, they will learn the process of determination themselves and repeat it if they should ever pick up a bad habit later in life.

Understanding the core reason behind the habit

Every bad habit has an underlying reason for existing. If your child suffers from an eating disorder, for example, you can bet that there is a reason that the problem exists. Talk with your child about their habit so that you can help them to uncover the hidden reason behind their desire to do something that might be potentially harmful to themselves. Do not assume that your child knows why they do what they do, and do not assume that they are fully aware of the harmful effects of their habits. Do your own research so that you can be prepared to have a conversation with your child about what they are doing. This will provide your child with an understanding of the aftereffects of their habit and will allow your child to trust their relationship with you—especially if you do not attempt to shame them for the habits that they have. Remember, they are small human beings who are not always aware of why they feel what they feel, or why they are attracted to certain modes of behavior. This is a great time to bond with your child as you teach them the skills necessary to overcome their addictions…no matter what they are.

Seek help when needed

Please remember that you are not supermom! You can’t fix everything, and you shouldn’t live your life believing that you can. When you see that your input is not helping, and the problem is getting worse, do not be afraid to get your child the help that they need. Go online and find an organization that works with children suffering from the habit that your child has and go from there. Let your child know that you care and want to make sure that they live a long, healthy life. For this, it is always a great idea to get the professionals involved.

Being the best mom that you can be starts with accepting the fact that you are raising another human who has habits just like anyone else. Yelling at your child for the habits that they have will not make the problem disappear. In some cases, it will exacerbate the situation and magnify the habit. Bad habits can be broken with a little bit of love, attention, and guidance. That’s the beauty of your presence in your child’s life. I mean, really…who better to guide them through a tough situation than you?


About Audra L.

Audra L. is an author, columnist and community activist who's dedicated to finding truth through research and effective communication. She received her degree in Public Policy and teaches Community Development, Public Speaking and Communications Law to youth throughout the nation. She is the recipient of over 23 awards and honors for her commitment to community outreach initiatives.

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